Plant Guide > Grasses > Rice Cut Grass

Rice Cut Grass

Rice Cut GrassLeersia oryzoides (L.) Sw.

Brook borders offer so much of beauty in their flora that the less noticeable leaves and blossoms of such waterside plants as Rice Cut-grass and White-grass often serve only as a background, intensifying the brilliancy of cardinal-flowers and emphasizing the deep blue of gentians.

But if one attempts to walk through a tangle of these grasses, in order to reach some flower that grows between the rocks at the water's edge, rough leaves and sheaths clothed in minute, hooked prickles delay progress, and if the hand is used in pushing the grasses aside it suffers sorely. Indeed, it is unpleasant to pick even one piece of Rice Cut-grass for analysis, so determinedly do the leaves catch leaves catch on hands and clothing.

Rice Cut-grass. Cut-grass. Leersia oryzoides (L.) Sw.


Stem 2-4 ft. tall, much branched, erect or spreading. Ligule very short. Sheaths and leaves rough, clothed in minute, downward-pointing, hooked prickles. Leaves 4'-10' long, 2"-5" wide.

Panicle 5'-10' long, branches spreading, not numerous. Spikelets 1-flowered, flattened, light green, 2"-2 1/2" long. Scales 2, nearly equal in length, downy; outer scale rough on keel and margins; inner scale rough on keel. Stamens 3, anthers pale yellow.

Marshes and along streams. July to September.

Nova Scotia to Ontario, south to Florida and Texas.